Atikokan’s mayor is pleased the next phase of the Waasigan power line is getting a thumbs up.
In a decision announced last week, the Independent Electricity System Operator recommended moving forward with the second phase of the Waasigan Transmission Line, which would build a single circuit line between the Mackenzie transformer station in Atikokan and the Dryden transformer station.
Atikokan Mayor Rob Ferguson said he was very excited to see the next phase of the line recommended.
“But when I re-read it, it's get done ‘as soon as possible’, he said. “And I'm not really a big ‘as soon as possible’ guy because that could be forever.”
In a release, Hydro One said it planned to have the second phase, “in service as soon as practically possible following phase 1 to support mining operations and Ontario's clean energy future.”
Some property owners in Kaministiquia are opposed to the route the first phase will take.
Ferguson said Atikokan should become a service hub for the new line as the power would travel between Thunder Bay to Atikokan on two lines, and then from Atikokan to Dryden on the single second-phase line.
“So I'm pushing for our community to be a better benefactor of what's going on,” he said. “I don't really want to see it serviced from Thunder Bay on one end and then Dryden on the other end.”
Ferguson said he’s sat on the power line committee since its inception and is the vice chair.
“We've been a real strong proponent of the Waasigan power line. But I'd like to see a little more for our community from the builders of the line,” he said.
Ferguson said the Atikokan Generating Station won’t tie directly to the new line, but it will feed it by sending all its power to the Mackenzie Transformer Station.
“So then the power from Atikokan [generating station] can be distributed on the Waasigan line through Northwest Ontario and on the way to Southern Ontario where they're going to need more power as well,” he said.